Latest election: Watchdog ‘investigates’ Sunak’s claims over Labor tax plans | Politics news

Rishi Sunak’s claim in last night’s debate that Labor would raise everyone’s taxes by £2,000 comes from a ‘dossier’ released by the Tories last month, which is believed to have calculated their tax and spending plans.

The headline ‘finding’ was that over the next four years, Labor had plans to spend around £59bn but raise revenue by just £20bn.

That leaves £39 billion. Divide this by the number of households in the country (18.4 million) and you get £2,000.

Now there are all sorts of objections to the Conservatives undertaking this exercise.

On the one hand, they have used a weapon that Labor does not have: because they are the party of government, they have been able to ask Treasury officials to spend on Labor policies.

Today there was a backlash – including from the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury himself – about how the Tories were accounting for the money.

The £2,000 figure is not really a Treasury calculation or “standalone” as Mr Sunack called it last night. This is a conservative figure – but it is partly compiled from figures commissioned from civil servants.

Labor also says many of the policies in this Tory dossier will not cost half as much as the Conservatives claim.

Although £2,000 sounds like a big number, it’s actually a cumulative total over four years. A much more representative figure taken from the dossier is £500 per annum.

And while that’s not a big deal (if you believe it – which you probably shouldn’t), it’s a lot smaller than the tax increases we’ll all be experiencing under this Conservative government starting in 2019.

They are said to average about £3,000 a year per household, or, if we grit our teeth and get away with it as the Tories did in their case, more than £13,000 over the course of Parliament.

Which dwarfs that £2,000 figure quite a bit.

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